Review Summary: Anne writes their best song yet, and further their case for being the cream of the crop of the shoegaze revivalists.
“Initially I didn’t like the song at all, though now it’s probably one of my favorite things we’ve done,” says Anne’s singer/guitarist David Lindell of “Power Exchange,” the title track of his group’s latest release on Run For Cover records. He goes on to state that in light of this that it “makes me believe I should not listen to myself.” How right he is.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Anne is one of the few shoegaze revivalists carrying the torch alongside bands such as Whirr, No Joy, and Young Prisms. Their 2011 debut compilation LP, the stellar Dream Punx
, was a bedeviling affair, as unfocused and unpredictable as it was sumptuous. It’s interesting to note that Dream Punx
was released on A389 records, a predominately punk/metal label, which allowed it to stick out like a sore thumb. However, this garnered quite a bit of attention for the album, which featured re-mastered recordings of songs from Anne’s free mixtapes as well as two original songs. Power Exchange
is a different beast altogether, one that finds Anne broadly expanding their sound and forging a new path for them to carry that torch on.
Upon first listen it’s easy to notice that for this EP Lindell’s vocals are set much higher in the mix than on Dream Punx
or what is traditional for most shoegaze bands. “Power Exchange” saunters along setting the unsettling pace, replete with shimmering Cure-esque guitar lines, deep bass-y drum fills, and rich synth. Lindell has said that “Power Exchange” “was written more collaboratively than most of our other songs,” which pays off. The Goth-like music is accompanied by haunting verses, as Lindell sings to his better half “We made a suicide pact that you couldn’t go through with/And if you love me so much/You will do as I say/But I guess you don’t.” For anyone who has ever been on the giving or receiving end of such pressure to comply in a relationship, this complex emotional song is sure to strike a chord. “Power Exchange” is a mesmerizing look into the dynamics of an unhealthy coupling between people, and its message is as powerful as it is profound. It’s unfortunate that some of the wind is let out of the sails of the album as “Rings” comes out. While not necessarily a bad song, it pales in comparison to the brilliance of “Power Exchange,” and really is best served to make an example of a classic A-side/B-side record.
Overall, what Anne have here is a tauter, more focused affair than Dream Punx
even if Power Exchange
on the whole isn’t quite as good. The title track is sure to hook any fan of early Slowdive or even those who are into recent post-punk greats such as Broken Water. Though the future of their music may continue to be gloomy, for right now, Anne is the face of a normally faceless genre, and that is to be appreciated.